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Puddles in a car park.


From Middle English podel, diminutive of Old English pudd (ditch), from Proto-Germanic *puddaz (compare Low German Pudel (puddle), Middle High German podel (quagmire, mudhole), Hunsrik Puttel, dialectal German Pfudel (puddle), German pudeln (to splash about)), ultimately imitative.


  • IPA(key): /ˈpʌdəl/
  • Rhymes: -ʌdəl
  • (file)


puddle (plural puddles)

  1. A small, often temporary, pool of water, usually on a path or road. [from 14th c.]
    • 1560, “Pſalme. xxxvi”, in Matthew Parker, The whole Pſalter tranſlated into Engliſh metre [] [1], Iohn Daye, page 98:
      Foꝛ with the only be theſe welles of lyfe, / Of frayle men ſpring but podels of myꝛe, / From whom ſourdeth errour ⁊ croked ſtrife []
  2. (now dialectal) Stagnant or polluted water. [from 16th c.]
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, “Book IV, Canto V”, in The Faerie Queene. [], London: [] [John Wolfe] for William Ponsonbie, →OCLC:
      And fast beside a little brooke did pas / Of muddie water, that like puddle stank […].
    • 1624, John Smith, Generall Historie, Kupperman, published 1988, page 90:
      searching their habitations for water, we could fill but three barricoes, and that such puddle, that never till then we ever knew the want of good water.
  3. A homogeneous mixture of clay, water, and sometimes grit, used to line a canal or pond to make it watertight. [from 18th c.]
  4. (rowing) The ripple left by the withdrawal of an oar from the water.
    • 1969, Charles Cuthbert Brown, Malay Sayings, page 88:
      I had only to see the 'puddle' to know that your paddle made it.
    • 2007, Rowing News, volume 14, number 5, page 36:
      As the blade exits the water the puddle is very tight and dark. It is also very quiet.

Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


puddle (third-person singular simple present puddles, present participle puddling, simple past and past participle puddled)

  1. To form a puddle.
  2. To play or splash in a puddle.
  3. (entomology) Of butterflies, to congregate on a puddle or moist substance to pick up nutrients.
  4. To process iron, gold, etc., by means of puddling.
  5. To line a canal with puddle (clay).
  6. To collect ideas, especially abstract concepts, into rough subtopics or categories, as in study, research or conversation.
  7. To make (clay, loam, etc.) dense or close, by working it when wet, so as to render impervious to water.
  8. To make foul or muddy; to pollute with dirt; to mix dirt with (water).





  1. inflection of puddeln:
    1. first-person singular present
    2. first/third-person singular subjunctive I
    3. singular imperative